- Men's Health & Wellness
Men and Pregnancy - How to Improve Sperm Quality
Sperm Levels Decreasing
It has been in the news recently that sperm levels in men have decreased significantly over the last few decades.
The reasons for this are not clear cut but there have been plenty of suggestions as to why this may be.
Regardless of the reasons, this can impact greatly on a couple when you are trying to get pregnant so it is a factor that really should be looked at if you are having problems conceiving.
Men and Pregnancy - What Should They Do?
I have to say that it never really occurred to me to think about what men should do when trying for a baby until my partner asked me what he could and couldn’t do before we tried. I think most people take for granted that there are millions of sperm that are perfectly good at doing their job, but that is not always the case. In fact it is just as important for the man to be healthy and take care of himself, as the woman.
So when I was trying to get pregnant I started looking around to find out if there were some particular guidelines for men and pregnancy and it turns out there are.
Most of what I found out is pretty much common sense and things that you might think about doing anyway when trying for a baby, but there are a few that I really wouldn't have thought about and didn't know made any difference to getting better quality male sperm.
I will summarise what I found out over all of my research but generally with men and pregnancy there are a lot of similar rules that apply to women, but also some in particular that help men to have more fertile sperm.
Male Sperm - The 3 Month Rule
The first thing to point out is that the man's sperm is actually generated 3 months before it is 'used' so for this reason it is important that the guys take action - whether this is by cutting down on bad things or starting to take vitamins, this should be done at least 3 months before trying to conceive if that is possible.
Men and Pregnancy - Tips to Help With Conceiving
Firstly, men should check with their doctor about the effect any medications that they are taking may have on the quality of their sperm. Certain conditions can make the sperm less potent and in particular anti-cancer drugs, some anabolic steroids and some antibiotics can have a negative effect on sperm quality.
In addition to women needing to take pre-pregnancy vitamins, including the recommended 400 micrograms a day of folic acid, men are also recommended to have a decent intake of certain vitamins which include vitamin C, E, Zinc and also folic acid – so ladies, share your folic acid pills with your men!
Also men trying to conceive with their partners should take note that sperm is much happier in slightly cooler temperatures and so does not take kindly to prolonged heat – for example in hot tubs, saunas or even hot baths. It seems to be recommended to steer clear of hot tubs and saunas in particular for 3 months before men try to conceive.
Also along the lines of keeping the little guys cool, it has been recorded that it might be more advisable for men planning a pregnancy to wear boxer shorts rather than any tight fitting underpants. This can help with reducing the risk of low sperm production.
If guys are keen cyclists then less time spent in the saddle is also a good idea for men trying to conceive as the tight fitting shorts and prolonged sitting on a bike can also harm sperm production. Limiting cycling times to a maximum of 30 minutes a day is a figure I have seen being recommended for men trying to conceive.
Men and Pregnancy - Lifestyle Changes
Smoking and Alcohol
Obviously in addition to the above recommendations, there is the usual one of cutting down on alcohol consumption to only one or two glasses a day (or even completely) and also giving up smoking. For men trying to conceive it is as important as women to do these two things and this often gets overlooked when all the focus is on the woman.
Added to this guys should also have a healthy diet and not be too overweight with a high level of body fat. So if you both stick to a healthy diet and take your extra vitamins then you will both be in the best position to conceive a baby.
So, Plan Ahead!
Going back to the 3 month rule, this can mean, for example, if a guy has only just stopped smoking then you will only feel the effects of this in 3 months time.
So, although it is not always possible to plan that far ahead, start as soon as you can on a healthy path. This is why it is advised not to use hot tubs, saunas etc for 3 months prior to conception.
Many people who have had a diagnosis of low sperm count or low morphology or motility of sperm have been able to increase the quality of the sperm by doing the things listed above. Over a period of 3 months this may show an improvement in some of the levels in terms of quantity and quality.
For myself, I was told that I would not get pregnant without IUI or IVF with the results of the semen analysis that we got. Then, 3 months later, after wearing looser clothing and taking a , (available in the US) I was pregnant. male conception vitamin like this one
For those in the UK, you could check out this Male Fertility Blend which is the equivalent one there.
© 2011 Jackie Grant